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Sabrina Thompson



Sabrina Thompson


A Crochet Story (unfinished)

A Crochet Story (unfinished)

20 mins

 “So, what do you suggest we do? Either one of us is going to be stuck with her for the whole summer, or she's going to be stuck with us. Either way, someone is bound to find it miserable.” I heard mom yell back at dad.

“You know I can't work out my schedule,” dad hollered back. “I needed this new job to pay for the new car that you apparently needed, remember? I'm not the one who decided to move to a different province.”

“I had no choice but to move here! It's near Roger's job, I can't help if he got transferred to Manitoba!” Mom clapped back. “At least you're not having to pay for alimony. This way you have enough money to put your new girlfriend through college! Which, by the way, seems to be taking priority over your own daughter going to college, have you thought of that? She's theoretically going in a year. How are you going to pay for two kids going to college?”

“Oh, for chrissakes, Donna. Nancy is 28, stop treating her as if I've left you for a 19-year-old. And she's getting her medical degree, which is more than what you've ever accomplished. Not everyone has the luxury of spending 8 years in college without earning a single degree like you did, on your father's dime. Nancy at least is working and putting herself through college, I'm just helping her out.” Dad argued back.

You would think that since their divorce was finalized last summer, the arguing would've dissipated, but no. I've found that the best I could do is stay out of their way until the yelling dies down, and then come in to offer mediation if one hasn't been arranged already. I miss Grandma Marie; when she and Grandpa Ed were around during the last few months of their living together, Grandma Marie knew exactly what to say and how to word it so they both don't end up killing each other.

Grandma and Grandpa were only able to stay for the duration of the school year; by the time Spring Break rolled around in March, Mom went to go visit Roger (a guy she met a year earlier at the Y while teaching yoga) in Banff, to go skiing with him and his brother's family and was supposed to be gone for just a week but didn't come home until three weeks later. I doubt Dad noticed, or else he was happy with having the quiet in the house. Mom had her things packed and out of the house in time for the May long weekend, where she drove out in her new car to visit her new guy, this time for good. Grandma Marie and Grandpa Ed left that same weekend to the resort, which they co-run with another couple (friends of theirs) in Huntsville, Ontario, where Dad grew up.

Dad had met Nancy as she was interning at the hospital; he was there installing new medical equipment his company sold, and the next thing I knew she was coming over for visits but only while Mom was away on her yoga retreats as if that's not the most transparent thing ever. I was “encouraged” to go on a log of sleepovers at my friends' places during that year, while Mom was away. I had first met Nancy when I came back from a friend's about an hour after I left because I forgot my toothbrush, and she and my dad looked like a pair of deer caught in the headlights. How embarrassing, and obvious.

I was in no mood of staying home that first summer. Dad was in a mood, mom was gone, Nancy was trying way too hard to both be my friend and pretend she wasn't sleeping with my dad, so thankfully Grandma Marie and Grandpa Ed let me spend July and August at their place in Huntsville, giving me my first real “full time” summer job. My job was to shadow Janine, the resident Head Maid who was in charge of cleaning all the cottages after each renter left. My job was to strip the beds, change the sheets, bring all the old sheets to the laundry room in the Guest House, and make sure they were all washed, dried and folded.

In September, I went back home, the home wasn't there anymore. Dad sold the house without telling me, and had moved in with Nancy, an hour away and now right in Toronto. I had to get used to taking the subway to school, which we didn't have in the suburbs. I hated having to go to a new school given the fact that I only had two years of high school left. I got along with no one at this new school – everything was drastically different. The cliques were very different than what I was used to, most of the kids came from very rich families, therefore coming to school with designer clothes and fancy cars that their Rich Dads bought for their 16th birthdays. I could only stand one semester there, and vented to my mom when visiting her in Banff for Winter Break. She arranged with my dad to have me transferred to a high school near her and Roger for the second semester.

Winter Break was the first time I really “officially” met Roger, even though we met before. Our previous meets were the occasional “hi” and “bye” and small talk, once Roger had the courage to come into the house to pick up my mom. Y'know, since she was “on his way to going to yoga”, and they were both coincidentally going to yoga, wink wink nudge nudges eww. Roger wasn't interested in becoming my friend the way Nancy was, but during Winter Break he did gift me with new skills and a snowboard, even though I do neither. I did give them both a try though, because why not. When I came out to live with them during the second semester, it became evident that Roger wasn't used to having kids around, and even though he was tolerable enough, I got the impression that I was in the way. Mom, I think, thought she was going to win at being the cool parent since Roger's place had a pool table and a game room, but seeing as how I'm the new kid who's starting mid-year, I had a hard time adjusting to... well, everything.

So, Mom came back with me to Toronto, and she stayed in a hotel. She was in town to sign the last of the divorce papers, and to figure out what to do with me. I wasn't interested in spending my summer where I wasn't welcome; I got the very distinct impression that I was in Roger's way, and therefore hers as well. She was visiting Dad and Nancy's new house, which she hadn't seen yet, while they were having this argument. Nancy conveniently had a shift at work, or a class, or something that prevented being home while Mom was there, again. While they were fighting, I was texting Grandma Marie.

Me: Mom & Dad are fighting again.

Grandma Marie: About what?

Me: summer plans, and who's going to be stuck with me.

Grandma: What do you want to do?

Me: move. Preferably to Europe somewhere. Or Mars.

Grandma: Well, the waiting list for Mars is a long one, I don't know if you'll be able to get there in time for July.

Me: not likely. (Pause.)

Me: I don't suppose there are any job openings at the resort? I know this is last minute, but I don't want to be here. Roger's a jerk. Plus with Dad's new job, he'll barely be home and I'll be stuck with Too Perky Nancy all summer.

Grandma: I'd love to have you, but we've already hired our staff for this summer. I wish I had known a month ago, we could've made some kind of arrangement.

Me: Okay. (Pause. Please, Grandma, say something... help me out here!)

Grandma: Well, if you want to come for a visit, you can. Grandpa Ed can come down and pick you up, and pick up some things in the city while visiting if you want.

Yes! I was beyond giddy at the possibility of visiting Grandma Marie and Grandpa Ed for the summer. Plus, with them working during the day, I can have some “me” time to figure out what I want to do in September for grade twelve. I confirmed with Grandma Marie via text, and then ran down the stairs, while Mom and Dad's argument was getting even more heated.

“Hey guys, listen - “ Mom and Dad stopped yelling mid-sentence, Dad red and Mom mid-arm flailing, trying to pretend they weren't arguing in front of me. I waived my cell phone in their direction, showing that I was texting Grandma Marie, even though they were both too far to read the screen. “What do you think about me heading up to Grandma Marie and Grandpa Ed's for the summer? There might be a summer job up there for me, and I had a really great time visiting them last summer. What do you think?” Mom and Dad seemed caught off guard, and possibly a bit disappointed at being unable to finish their argument to see who wins. “Grandpa Ed can come to pick me up.”

And so, it was settled. Grandpa Ed was going to come the day after tomorrow, in time for the weekend, with the truck to pick me up.

We got here really late last night; Trevor and Tim were already in bed, so we had to be quiet when we arrived. Aunt Callie, Dad and I brought my stuff from the van to my room. It took me forever to fall asleep; there are no regular city noises here. It's creepy quiet, like... no noise at all. So, this is the basic layout of the place: there's a long road that goes from the main road to the house. (Is it the driveway? It's at least a kilometre long.) In a couple of spots where this sideroad turns, it branches off to private summer cottages, but we eventually get to the parking lot of the resort. The main house is where we're living; the front has the Office, where people check-in, behind that, is a storage room for the office, and behind that is a laundry room for the main house and the staff of the resort, and through that is a door that leads outside.

There's a door behind the check-in counter in the office that leads to the House; it leads into the kitchen, which has a dining room at the far end. To the left is another storage room, which has a staircase that leads up to a room (which is being used as a toy room for the twins), and also a doorway to the aforementioned laundry room. To the right is a small office and bathroom, and a passageway to the living room. Going through the kitchen, the dining room, it leads to the living room on the left with a huge stone fireplace. There's another staircase that goes up to our bedrooms. At the top of the stairs, there's another stairwell (with a door) that leads to the attic, a bedroom (which is currently being used for storage for moving boxes) and through that is the toy room. To the right there's the main bathroom with an old fashioned tub, a corner spare room which is Aunt Lydia and Aunt Callie are staying, then a double bedroom with the adjoining wall removed which is Trevor's and Tim's room (still has two doorways though), then my room at the other corner, and mom and dad's room beside mine.

The main house was once like a hotel, the rooms were rented out, which is why they all have numbers still on the doors. The toy room and the spare room underneath is a newer addition to the house, it was built much later than the main house or most of the cabins at the resort.

Now, back on the main floor, there are stairs going to the basement from the kitchen, sliding doors from the dining room that go outside, and a door from our living room that leads to a small enclosed terrace, which then leads to the Rec Hall, which has another side entrance facing this one, and a main entrance at the opposite end for guests to use. There's a large bell int its roof, that gets rung at the beginning of new activities. The Rec Hall is not officially part of the house, but Trevor's and Tim's and Aunt Lydia's and Callie's rooms look over that building. It comes out a bit past the dining room, as does the spare room under the game room, which makes our sliding doors from the dining room like our unofficial little 'back porch' area. There are tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers already planted there.

On the other side of the parking lot is a white building that has four bedrooms, and that's where the Harrisons stay. Behind that is a tennis court, and in front of the Rec Hall, there are floor shuffleboards where people can rent equipment to play at either during their stay. Mrs. Harrison does tennis lessons during July and August.

There are a couple of roads leading from the parking lot to the bottom of the hill, where there's a lake. Between the main house and the lake, there are 80 cottages, but mom and dad want to increase that to 95 before next spring, but they won't get built until September. Between the main house and the driveway, there's a building that also was used once to rent rooms, but hasn't been used in a few years, aside from the garage on the main floor. I'm not sure what the point of this house is.

There are no kids my age yet, but there may be some depending on who rents a cabin this summer. This is a family resort, so there are people who come with their kids, and there are events planned for all ages. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison have been here since May as well, and their kids will be coming down today or tomorrow to start work.

I, on the other hand, am too young to have a job and too old to hang out with Trevor and Tim, so... ugh. We'll see. This place is a maze, I don't know if I'll ever get used to it.

Aunt Callie and Aunt Lydia are also working here this summer, doing housekeeping for all the cabins and property maintenance (that is their official titles, one is a housekeeper and one is a groundskeeper) although my parents and the Harrisons will be helping out with this as well. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison and my parents will take turns running the office; Mrs. Harrison does tennis lessons four times a week, mom is the official Events Coordinator, and mom and dad will take turns taking care of Trevor and Tim during the day, while Aunt Lydia and Aunt Callie take care of us in the evening if there are Rec Hall activities and Dad is checking in guests.

This is going to be a long summer.

Sunday, June 30th: We have an airplane hanger. Can you believe it? It's not being used for a plane now, it's just a super large garage full of stuff, but it did at one point. That's what the big building is on the other side of the parking lot and across from the white cabin that the Harrison's are staying in. Oh, and at the lake, there's also a helicopter pad, and two gas pumps where small planes and helicopters sometimes fuel up. I wonder if we'll see that this summer.

There's an official swimming area for resort guests at the lake, where there are a dock and a raft, and buoys at the end of the dock marking where it starts to get deep. On the other side of the dock, there's a bunch of different boats that guests can rent, with life jackets. We're not allowed to use those until either mom or dad shows us how. Trevor and Tim can't swim yet, but I stayed with them in the shallow area. Near the helipad, we discovered that area is the best for seeing minnow and frogs. I also saw my first garter snake. Gross.

Tuesday, July 2nd: Yesterday was Canada Day. We had Canada Day things here at the resort planned out. We are fully booked for this whole past weekend and the holiday yesterday. Mom, Dad and Aunt Lydia were all crazy busy, so Trevor, Tim and I spent the day with Aunt Callie. The twins saw their first fireworks last night, which they were both terrified but also giggled once each bang went off. They fell asleep heading back to the house. Mom is with the twins today, so I got to explore on my own.

I did get a job, unofficially. It's more like a project. The airplane hanger is full of boxes, mostly stuff previous guests and owners have left behind. Mom suggested I look through them in case there was anything interesting. I sorted out some things that were clearly garbage or recycling, and whatever I found interesting, I could keep.

I found some very vintage looking books, from at least the 1970s or older, so I loaded them up in a cart I found, so I could wheel it to the house. They may be interesting to read or to add to the bookshelves in the Rec Hall.

There were some plastic toys in some other boxes, that I added to the cart for Trevor and Tim. Nothing really sparked my attention, though. These boxes were stacked really high, I don't know how I could go through them, but I went through whatever I could reach. Yes, it's tedious and a bit boring, but frankly, it's something to do.

When the cart was full of books and toys, I brought it over to the dining room sliding doors, where mom was having lunch with the twins. She opened the door so I could bring the cart into the dining room, against the kitchen counter. She sorted through the books and I showed all the toys to the boys when they finished their lunch. It was like Christmas, they were so excited for them. Mom let them play int the living room while she went through the books, but the toys would eventually go to the toy room upstairs.

I kept a book of short stories for myself, which I put in my room for now, but would likely go the Rec Hall bookshelf when I was done. Mom said it would be a brilliant idea to have guests borrow books at their leisure so they can read while on vacation here., and she was going to make up a sign to advise guests to return books to the Rec Hall or the office when they were done, so others could read them too.

Friday, July 5th: Spent the day in the hanger again. Yesterday I finished the book of short stories and also helped mom set up the “library” in the Rec Hall. There are built-in shelves along the wall closest to the house, between the two side doors (one being from enclosed terrace). There's also a fireplace in the center of that wall, dividing the shelves. There are couches facing the fireplace, and ping pong tables in there too, which are put aside when taking out tables for Bingo Night and craft activities.

The shelves needed fixing, which Aunt Callie did earlier this week. There were some books already there, and mom had added the new books I found. There are some board games and packs of cards already there too, we went through all of them to make sure they weren't missing any pieces. These are not to leave the Rec Hall.

So, today I'm int he hanger again sorting through boxes. Mr. Harrison used the forklift to bring down more boxes for me to look through, and I was using the workbench along the back wall to sort out piles and the emptied boxes were left on the floor for me to refill and reorganize.

I found a million old National Geographic magazines, which mom let me keep so I could maybe use for school projects (they have neat pictures.) I dug up another couple boxes worth of toys, some we kept for Trevor and Tim, some we put in the Rec Hall, and the rest were donated to a thrift store in town. I dug up more books (so many books!) for mom to sort through, and at least three bins' worth of recycling.

Mom brought me to lunch with Trevor and Tim to the hanger, which was the only indication that I was there for three hours already. At first, I thought this was tedious work, but it's turning out to be interesting. (Not to mention a good excuse not to babysit, even though I like playing with the boys.)

I was taking my time, of course. I'd read through a National Geographic magazine, and half an hour seeing how high I could stack Lego blocks, but otherwise, I really did work. As I got rid of boxes, Mr. Harrison trusted me with an Exacto-knife so I could collapse them for recycling.

I also found at least a dozen puzzles, but all of them were already unsealed. I didn't want to assemble all of them or count all the pieces, but I put those aside with the books to see if they were Rec Hall-worthy. Dad and Aunt Lydia would love the puzzles, they often competed against each other to complete puzzles or crosswords; it can be their job to check them.

Just about when I was going to call it a day, because I felt a bit dusty and sweaty and gross from all the work, Aunt Callie came in to see how I was doing.

“Wow, you really cleared out a lot!” she said.

“Meh, it's something to do,” I replied, modestly. I realized then the volume that I actually cleared out, it was quite a bit, although much of it was still in piles on the workbench. Aunt Callie handed me a can of cold root beer and opened one for herself.

“Don't tell your mother,” she winked.

“I won't.” I smiled, taking a sip, and then guzzling half of it. I didn't realize I was so thirsty.

“So, what do you have here?” she asked, skimming through the piles of an organized mess.

“Well, I found some toys for the twins, and these toys here I wonder if we could save until they're a bit older,” I pointed to a box of Legos and metal cars. “Plus some books for Mom to sort through, and board games for the Rec Hall, maybe.”


“... and puzzles...” I said, shaking some boxes.

“Your dad and Lydia would like these. They got that gene from your grandfather, their knack for puzzles.” I nodded in agreement. One of the few memories I have of granddad was him assembling elaborate jigsaw puzzles, and I wasn't allowed ever to go near that table except for the rare occasion I was invited to.

“That's pretty much it. There was some water damage or broken things, they're in that big pile over there, and the other pile is recycling.” I pointed to the other end of the hanger.

“What about you? Did you find anything you like?” she asked.

I shrugged. “Not really. There are these old magazines that I might keep for school projects, but I'm not really 'into' anything in particular.” I finished my root beer and tossed the can in a recycling bin. Aunt Callie started sifting through a few unopened boxes that I couldn't reach.

“Oh... wait for a second, what's this?” she said, a bit excitedly. She pulled a box from a shelf, placed it on the ground and opened it. “Oh, yes! Look at these lovelies!” I ran over expecting... well, I don't know, but something interesting anyway. I looked in the box and ...

“Um, that's a box of yarn,” I said, disappointed.

“Yes, I know! I wonder who left all this behind?” Aunt Callie exclaimed, going back to the shelf to see if she could find more. Why was she all giddy about a box of string?

She pulled down a couple more boxes and opened them to find more yarn in one box, and another nearly fully of yarn, but also had knitting needles and crochet hooks in separate bags. This box was also partially full of knitted and crocheted squares, all the same size but they all had different patterns and designs on them.

“Well, isn't this somethin',” Aunt Callie exclaimed, with a twinkle in her eye. I couldn't understand what the excitement was about. I didn't know much about knitting, but the little I did know sounded extremely boring. “All these needles are the same size in this bag, and all the hooks in this bag are the same size. I'm wondering if what this is, is a big group project to make blankets.”

I looked at her blankly. Clearly dumbfounded, she explained: “You make a bunch of squares the same size, which are then sewn or crocheted together to make one blanket. See these? These crocheted squares are called granny squares. This looks like anyone could contribute their skills to making a square, to make blankets. I wonder who this belongs to?” she wondered.

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